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Rule

Annual Adjustment of Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents-Calendar Year 2002

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule establishes at $6,700 the monetary threshold for reporting railroad accidents/incidents involving railroad property damage that occur during calendar year 2002. The monetary threshold of $6,700 for calendar year 2002 represents an $100 increase over last year's monetary threshold of $6,600. This action is needed to ensure and maintain comparability between different years of data by having the threshold keep pace with any increases or decreases in equipment and labor costs so that each year accidents involving the same minimum amount of railroad property damage are included in the reportable accident counts.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

January 1, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert L. Finkelstein, Staff Director, Office of Safety Analysis, RRS-22, Mail Stop 17, Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance, FRA, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6280); or Nancy L. Friedman, Trial Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, RCC-12, Mail Stop 10, FRA, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6034).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Each rail equipment accident/incident must be reported to FRA using the Rail Equipment Accident/Incident Report (Form FRA F 6180.54). 49 CFR 225.19(b), (c). As revised in 1997, paragraphs (c) and (e) of 49 CFR 225.19, provide that the dollar figure that constitutes the reporting threshold for rail equipment accidents/incidents will be adjusted, if necessary, every year in accordance with the procedures outlined in appendix B to part 225, to reflect any cost increases or decreases. 61 FR 30942, 30969 (June 18, 1996); 61 FR 60632, 60634 (Nov. 29, 1996); 61 FR 67477, 67490 (Dec. 23, 1996).

New Reporting Threshold

Approximately one year has passed since the rail equipment accident/incident reporting threshold was last reviewed, and approximately four years since it was revised. 64 FR 69193 (Dec. 10, 1999); 63 FR 71790 (Dec. 30, 1998); 62 FR 63675 (Dec. 2, 1997). Consequently, FRA has recalculated the threshold, as required by § 225.19(c), based on increased costs for labor and increased costs for equipment. FRA has determined that the current reporting threshold of $6,600, which applies to rail equipment accidents/incidents that occur during calendar year 2001, should increase by $100 to $6,700 for the same rail equipment accidents/incidents that occur during calendar year 2002, effective January 1, 2002.

Accordingly, §§ 225.5 and 225.19 and appendix B have been amended to state the reporting threshold for calendar year 2002 and the most recent cost figures and the calculations made to determine that threshold.

Notice and Comment Procedures

In this rule, FRA has recalculated the monetary reporting threshold based on the formula adopted, after notice and comment, in the final rule published June 18, 1996, 61 FR 30959, 30969, and discussed in detail in the final rule published November 29, 1996, 61 FR 30632. FRA has found that both the current cost data inserted into this pre-existing formula and the original cost Start Printed Page 66347data that they replace were obtained from reliable Federal government sources. FRA has found that this rule imposes no additional burden on any person, but rather provides a benefit by permitting the valid comparison of accident data over time. Accordingly, FRA has concluded that notice and comment procedures are impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. As a consequence, FRA is proceeding directly to this final rule.

Regulatory Impact

Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

This final rule has been evaluated in accordance with existing regulatory policies and procedures and is considered to be a nonsignificant regulatory action under DOT policies and procedures. 44 FR 11034 (Feb. 26, 1979). This final rule also has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866 and is also considered “nonsignificant” under that Order.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires a review of rules to assess their impact on small entities, unless the Secretary certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Pursuant to Section 312 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), FRA has published an interim policy that formally establishes “small entities” as being railroads that meet the line-haulage revenue requirements of a Class III railroad. 62 FR 43024 (Aug. 11, 1997). For other entities, the same dollar limit in revenues governs whether a railroad, contractor, or other respondent is a small entity. About 645 of the approximately 700 railroads in the United States are considered small businesses by FRA. FRA certifies that this final rule will have no significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. To the extent that this rule has any impact on small entities, the impact will be neutral because the rule is maintaining, rather than increasing, their reporting burden. The American Shortline and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) represents the interests of most small freight railroads and some excursion railroads operating in the United States. FRA field offices and the ASLRRA engage in various outreach activities with small railroads. For instance, when new regulations are issued that affect small railroads, FRA briefs the ASLRRA, which in turn disseminates the information to its members and provides training as appropriate. When a new railroad is formed, FRA safety representatives visit the operation and provide information regarding applicable safety regulations. The FRA regularly addresses questions and concerns regarding regulations raised by railroads. Because this rule is not anticipated to affect small railroads, FRA is not providing alternative treatment for small railroads under this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

There are no new information collection requirements associated with this final rule. Therefore, no estimate of a public reporting burden is required.

Federalism Implications

Executive Order 13132, entitled, “Federalism,” issued on August 4, 1999, requires that each agency “in a separately identified portion of the preamble to the regulation as it is to be issued in the Federal Register, provide[] to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget a federalism summary impact statement, which consists of a description of the extent of the agency's prior consultation with State and local officials, a summary of the nature of their concerns and the agency's position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and a statement of the extent to which the concerns of the State and local officials have been met * * *.” This rulemaking action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132. This rule will not have a substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and the responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in the Executive Order 13132. Accordingly, FRA has determined that this rule will not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. Accordingly, a Federalism Assessment has not been prepared.

Environmental Impact

FRA has evaluated this regulation in accordance with its “Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts” (FRA's Procedures) (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), other environmental statutes, Executive Orders, and related regulatory requirements. FRA has determined that this regulation is not a major FRA action (requiring the preparation of an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment) because it is categorically excluded from detailed environmental review pursuant to section 4(c)(20) of FRA's Procedures. 64 FR 28545, 28547, May 26, 1999. Section 4(c)(20) reads as follows:

(c) Actions Categorically Excluded. Certain classes of FRA actions have been determined to be categorically excluded from the requirements of these Procedures as they do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. * * * The following classes of FRA actions are categorically excluded:

* * * * *

(20) Promulgation of railroad safety rules and policy statements that do not result in significantly increased emissions of air or water pollutants or noise or increased traffic congestion in any mode of transportation.

In accordance with section 4(c) and (e) of FRA's Procedures, the agency has further concluded that no extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to this regulation that might trigger the need for a more detailed environmental review. As a result, FRA finds that this regulation is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

Pursuant to Section 201 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4, 2 U.S.C. 1531), each federal agency “shall, unless otherwise prohibited by law, assess the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector (other than to the extent that such regulations incorporate requirements specifically set forth in law).” Section 202 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1532) further requires that “before promulgating any general notice of proposed rulemaking that is likely to result in the promulgation of any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any 1 year, and before promulgating any final rule for which a general notice of proposed rulemaking was published, the agency shall prepare a written statement” detailing the effect on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. The final rule would not result in the expenditure, in the aggregate, of $100,000,000 or more in any one year, and thus preparation of such a statement is not required.

Energy Impact

Executive Order 13211 requires Federal agencies to prepare a Statement Start Printed Page 66348of Energy Effects for any “significant energy action.” 66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001). Under the Executive Order, a “significant energy action” is defined as any action by an agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation (including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking) (1)(i) that is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 or any successor order, and (ii) is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy; or (2) that is designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. FRA has evaluated this final rule in accordance with Executive Order 13211. FRA has determined that this final rule will not have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action.

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List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 225

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The Final Rule

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In consideration of the foregoing, FRA amends part 225, title 49, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

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PART 225—RAILROAD ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS: REPORTS CLASSIFICATION, AND INVESTIGATIONS

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1. The authority citation for part 225 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 20103, 20107, 20901, 20902, 21302, 21311; 49 U.S.C. 103; 49 CFR 1.49.

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2. By amending § 225.19 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (c) and revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:

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Primary groups of accidents/incidents.
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(c) Rail equipment accidents/incidents are collisions, derailments, fires, explosions, acts of God, and other events involving the operation of on-track equipment (standing or moving) that result in damages higher than the current reporting threshold (i.e., $6,300 for calendar years 1991 through 1996, $6,500 for calendar year 1997, $6,600 for calendar years 1998 through 2001, and $6,700 for calendar year 2002) to railroad on-track equipment, signals, tracks, track structures, or roadbed, including labor costs and the costs for acquiring new equipment and material. * * *

* * * * *

(e) The reporting threshold is $6,300 for calendar years 1991 through 1996. The reporting threshold is $6,500 for calendar year 1997, $6,600 for calendar years 1998 through 2001, and $6,700 for calendar year 2002. The procedure for determining the reporting threshold for calendar year 1997 and later appears as appendix B to part 225.

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3. Part 225 is amended by revising paragraphs 8 and 9 of appendix B to read as follows:

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Appendix B to Part 225—Procedure for Determining Reporting Threshold

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8. Formula:

Where:

Prior Threshold = $6,600 (for rail equipment accidents/incidents that occur during calendar year 2001);

Wn = New average hourly wage rate ($) = 18.188333;

Wp = Prior average hourly wage rate ($) = 17.763333;

En = New equipment average PPI value ($) =135.733333;

Ep = Prior equipment average PPI value ($) = 135.633333.

9. The result of these calculations is $6,682.254777. Since the result is rounded to the nearest $100, the new reporting threshold for rail equipment accidents/incidents that occur during calendar year 2002 is $6,700, which represents an $100 increase from the monetary threshold for calendar years 1998 through 2001.

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Issued in Washington, DC on December 17, 2001.

Allan Rutter,

Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration.

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[FR Doc. 01-31521 Filed 12-21-01; 8:45 am]

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